2017 Magny-Cours WorldSBK Saturday Press Releases

Press releases from the organizers and teams after WorldSBK race 1 and qualifying for WorldSSP:


Jonathan Rea takes record breaking third consecutive WorldSBK title
Northern Irishman secures championship after stunning performance in France

When someone asks you when Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) made history by winning three back to back WorldSBK titles, you will remember 30th September 2017, as the Northern Irishman has been crowned MOTUL FIM Superbike World Champion this weekend in France. A match made in heaven with his Ninja ZX-10RR, Rea took the crown in race one with a stunning display of pure race craft. The 31 year old has made this seasons dominance seem effortless, and as he lifts the third consecutive title in a row he has cemented his name in the history books along the way.

Beginning his racing career in motocross, Rea moved over to the tarmac as he began to compete in the British domestic series. Making the step up onto the world stage in 2008 in WorldSSP, he quickly found his feet and moved into the World Superbike class with Honda – taking 15 victories overall. Swapping to a green machine in 2015, Rea quickly adapted to his Kawasaki Racing Team Ninja, and he secured his debut world title that same season.

It was from here the Northern Irish born rider became unstoppable as he took the 2016 title in style at the final round in Qatar, finishing a narrow 51 points ahead of team-mate Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team). Becoming the first champion of this millennium to secure back to back titles, he then went into 2017 looking to make history.

A strong winter of pre-season testing stood the 31 year old in good sted ahead of his title defence, and he began the season in true Rea style with pole position and a double victory around the Australian circuit of Phillip Island. Round Two in Buriram saw the dominance continue with another double victory and pole position, heading to Europe with a 30 point lead in the championship standings.

With already such a strong lead in the standings, the rider from Ballymena didn’t show any signs of slowing down. Rea was able to stop British rival Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) around MotorLand Aragon to take the victory in race one, before continuing his stunning run of victories at the TT Circuit Assen for Round Four, making it 11 wins in The Netherlands.

Rea faced some tough competition in the mid-part of the season, with Davies dominant in front of the Ducatisti around Imola and Sykes heading to his preferred circuit of Donington Park, but the champion continued with his consistency throughout the Rounds, only finishing off the podium once in Race One around Donington Park following a tyre issue.

Heading into the summer break with a 59 point lead following victories at Misano and Laguna Seca, talk of Rea securing the title this season had already began, of which he brushed off. Returning on track in August to the Lausitzring circuit, Rea again struggled to hold off Davies’ domination, but two podium finishes didn’t leave the reigning champion worried. Producing a masterclass of a double victory in Portugal seemed to seal the deal for Rea, whilst his team-mate and main title rival Sykes was forced to watch from the sidelines. Heading to Magny-Cours, Rea welcomed a fast pace from Friday and was able to secure pole position as the rain fell on Saturday morning. The title fight was never in doubt, as the Northern Irishman put in a stunning performance to dominate the 21 lap race in wet conditions, to take the title and his 12th victory of the season.

After securing this historic title, Rea is quickly becoming known as one of WorldSBK’s greats, with compatriot Cal Fogarty’s records in his sights. Ever the fan favourite and a dedicated family man, the three time champion is making his mark on the series in a big way and the question will continue to be asked; how many more can he win?

Congratulate the first ever triple back-to-back world champion using #R3PEAT or #JR3PEAT on social media.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team):

"To be honest I can't sum up my emotions, I feel quite numb. I just feel super proud of my team and Kawasaki. It has been such a team effort, even though I'm the guy who rode it over the line, there have been so many people involved to make it possible.

Every season is different and special in it's own individual way. 2015 was a seamless year, I joined a high level team with a well developed bike. I jumped on a bike that was ready to win and we won. 2016 was more special because we had a completely new ZX.10R, and I'm really proud of my team for the constant development. We had a lot of success last season and although we didn't score as many points, we were able to understand the bike and it was a lot more difficult, so it was a lot harder.

This season we showed the strength of team, the manufacturer the strength of Pere, and we went through some hard winter tests and we worked through the problems, and were able to go out an win at Phillip Island. I have to say thank you to Mr Matusda and everyone back in Japan as they work so hard to allow me to live my dream. I cross the line but there are too many names on the list who are involved to say thank you.

Straight away I am thinking about tomorrow and the end of the season. 2018 as a whole looks uncertain and we need to understand how the bike will work with some new regulations. Winter testing will be so important, and when we turn our attentions to 2018, I am 100% confident in my team and Kawasaki that we will always give our 100%."


Rea seals third successive title with victory in France

Stunning ride from KRT rider secures the title in difficult conditions

Jonathan Rea charged to an excellent victory at the Magny-Cours circuit in France on Saturday to secure a historic third consecutive WorldSBK title, crossing the line over 16 seconds ahead of second placed Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati), with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) finishing third.

Rea made a determined start from pole position and soon pulled clear of the rest of the pack, keeping the hammer down over the 21 laps of the race in the wet-drying conditions at the Pirelli French Round to remain unchallenged at the front. His impressive performance gave him a 12th victory of the season and saw him become the first ever rider to win three successive WorldSBK titles.

It was a truly gritty ride from Rea’s teammate Sykes as the Yorkshireman returned to action with a third place result, having had surgery on a finger injury less than two weeks ago - after a Portimao crash. Sykes completed the podium after just losing out on second place to Melandri in the final stages of the race.

Five seconds off the rostrum positions was Leon Camier who had another excellent ride for MV Agusta Reparto Corse. Another 19 seconds back on his compatriot Camier was Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) who rounded out the top five.

Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) were sixth and seventh respectively, whilst Davide Giugliano (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) was the eighth rider home.

Early in the race there was a crash for Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), which also saw Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) go down, but remarkably Dutchman Van der Mark fought back to finish ninth, ahead of Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati).

Race 2 at the Pirelli French Round will get going at the 4.411km Magny-Cours track at 1pm local time on Sunday. Send your congratulations to Rea as the newly crowned 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Champion with the hashtag #R3PEAT.

P1 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)

"I have no words right now. I sacrificed so much in my life to get to the levels to live my dream and to win a world championship, so to win three, I cant really explain my feelings. I want to say thank you so much to my team and to everyone back in Japan, and I want to thank my family to make sacrifices to let me live my dream. I'm so happy to take the victory as well as winning my 50th WorldSBK Race win, I'm just so happy about this stat."

P2- Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)

"It was a hard race as I had a good start but I was far away and the track conditions were difficult. IN the end I could catch Tom and it was a nice battle, With two laps to go we touched each and then on the last lap it was very good fun. To finish second in my first time on this bike in the wet is a great result."

P3 - Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team)

"Considering my injury I am very happy, I struggled a bit with corner entry. Our path crossed with Marco, and it was a good race. If someone had offered me this two weeks go, I would definitely have taken it, I don't know how I've managed to ride a bike. We found something but I'm very happy and want to say thanks to Kawasaki."

#FrenchWorldSBK at Magny-Cours: Race 1

1. Jonathan Rea Kawasaki

2. Marco Melandri Ducati +16.316

3. Tom Sykes Kawasaki +16.666


Rea Creates History With Third Successive FIM WorldSBK Title

KRT rider Jonathan Rea won an unprecedented third FIM Superbike World Championship title in succession after a peerless display of front running in a wet first race at Magny Cours in France. No other rider had won three WorldSBK titles in a row before today. Tom Sykes (KRT) overcame recent injury and treacherous track conditions to finish third in the 21-lap opening race at Magny Cours.

A historic third championship win in succession for Jonathan Rea came after his 12th win of the season, which was also the 50th of his WorldSBK career. Has led the 2017 title race from round one, race one, and make sure of his ultimate title success after winning today’s wet race by over 16 seconds. Rea’s latest victory came despite the slippery conditions that changed from lap-to-lap as the skies brightened after heavy overnight rain.

Jonathan celebrated his latest championship success trackside with a three-pronged golden trident – symbolising his three championships in succession - and a special crash helmet design, before coming back to pitlane to celebrate his historic achievement with his team and KHI personnel.

Shortly before the first race of the weekend Rea had also secured pole position after a dramatic and wet Superpole 2. He fell early in the 15-minute session but quick work from his crew in pitlane ensured he would take to the track again, and Jonathan duly finished in pole position.

A heroic and ultimately rewarding performance from Sykes saw him start from third place after Superpole 2 and fight bravely at times to maintain a podium position, despite his recent left hand surgery.

Tom saw off an early challenge from Chaz Davies to keep himself a firm second in the championship as Davies dropped down the order. Sykes, the 2013 WorldSBK champion with KRT, battled again in the final laps, this time with Marco Melandri. They accidentally touched on the penultimate lap, as they rounded the long right hand corner of turn three.

Sykes only missed out on the second place he had held for most of the race by 0.350 seconds. This was Tom’s 15th podium of the year and the 99th of his long career.

One more 21-lap race will take place in France this weekend, again at 13.00 local time tomorrow, Sunday 1st October.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I have no words right now. I have sacrificed so much in my life, as have my parents and everyone involved in helping me get me to this level. To win it the championship the first time, the second time and then go three times in a row – I cannot compute my feelings right now. My thanks to all the team, every single member of the team, and everyone from Kawasaki back in Japan. Most of all I want to thank my wife and kids who sacrifice so much. To win this race was special. Winning a race to win the championship is not something I have done before, so I was important for me to do that. I also scored my 50th WorldSBK race win in WorldSBK as well.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “Considering the injury I had I am just happy to be here, never mind get on the podium. At times I struggled with edge grip in the track conditions, and Marco Melandri had good side grip towards the end. We had a bit of a ‘kiss’ in turn three as out paths crossed, while fighting for second place. I was third today but if somebody had offered me this kind of result two weeks ago, I would have taken it. I struggle to put on my socks in the morning so I am not sure how I could manage to ride the bike! Thanks to Kawasaki for making it possible for me to ride and for making it as comfortable as possible for me to ride.”


Bittersweet Race 1 at Magny Cours: Melandri 2nd after a strong comeback; electrical problems hinder Davies, 10th

Race 1 of the 11th round of the WorldSBK Championship, held at Magny Cours (France), yielded a bittersweet result for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team. On a wet but progressively drying track, Marco Melandri mounted a spectacular comeback to finish second. Chaz Davies, after making a strong start, was hindered by electrical problems and, despite putting up a fight, had to settle for tenth position.

Starting from 12th position on the grid due to a slow-speed crash during Superpole, Melandri paced himself and progressively climbed back as the track was drying up. With two laps to go, the Italian definitevely cut a 10-second gap from Sykes and engaged in a hard though fair duel, outfighting the Brit with just a few corners left.

Davies, seventh on the grid, was instead forced to lose ground after a strong start that saw him take second position within a few corners. The Welshman unluckily suffered an electrical issue that hindered his performance both under braking and acceleration. Despite his valiant efforts, Davies was forced to settle for tenth position.

Due to the reverse grid for Race 2, Melandri and Davies will start from 8th and 11th position on the grid tomorrow. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action at 09:30 (CET) Sunday for warm-up ahead of Race 2 (scheduled to start at 13:00).

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 2nd

“It’s been a fantastic race. At the beginning, the conditions were tricky as the grip was really low. As time went by, I gained confidence and started to push harder and harder. When I saw that Sykes was struggling a little bit, I realized I could push even more because we weren’t struggling with the tires and nobody would have gone back to the pits to change them. We had a fun battle in the last two laps, I gave my all to bridge the gap and honestly we couldn’t have done more today. I hope we have a dry race tomorrow, because here it’s so easy to make mistakes. We haven’t done many laps in the dry so far this weekend, but we would all be in the same boat and we’re ready to have a go at it.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 10th

“We had a strong start and the bike felt good at the beginning of the race, but after three laps it had an issue and it became hard to control. It started to lock the rear and spin a lot under acceleration. We’ll look into it, but all we could do was to try and make it to the checkered flag, so I’m a bit disappointed. Yesterday, in the dry, we were making good progress. Our pace wasn’t the best but we were competitive nonetheless. Hopefully it will be dry during WUP as well, as we want to verify one final step with the setup. I’m quite confident about the direction we were going in, so hopefully we can bounce back with a solid result in Race 2.”

Ernesto Marinelli, Superbike Project Director

“It’s been a bittersweet race today. Marco made a fantastic comeback on Sykes, taking advantage of a progressively drying track and showing great tactical acumen. We’re sorry for Chaz. An electrical problem in the button panel, which caused the electronics to malfunction, hindered his performance. Tomorrow the weather could change again, with low temperatures but dry conditions. We’ll try to make the most of WUP to improve with both our riders in Race 2.”


Pata Yamaha Pull Out the Stops in a Wet Race 1 at Magny-Cours

Race

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team secured two positive results after putting in maximum effort in tricky conditions on Saturday at Magny-Cours, round 11 of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. Alex Lowes rode to a solid fifth-place finish in a wet Race 1, enjoying some superb battles along the way on a difficult drying track. His teammate Michael van der Mark had a crash on lap 2 but remounted and charged his way sensationally through the field to secure ninth at the chequered flag.

Lowes finished Friday's dry practice in ninth overall, but only two-tenths off his teammate in second in one of the closest opening days of the season. On Saturday morning, the rain poured down in Magny-Cours but Lowes used FP3 to find a good wet setup with his R1 and in SP2, in typical style, he pulled out a great lap to qualify in fifth for Race 1. The rain had stopped and the sun came out just before the race, although everyone stuck with wet tyres, but when the lights went out he did not have the best of starts and was in seventh and behind his teammate van der Mark by the first corner. Responding brilliantly, the 27-year-old enjoyed a great battle in the early laps with his teammate, passing him at Turn 5 on the second lap and not looking back. Next up was Leandro Mercado and then Chaz Davies as Lowes continued his charge through the field and made his way up to third by lap 6.

The damp track made conditions extremely tricky and Lowes battled hard, with first, Marco Melandri and then Leon Camier, before settling into fifth. Determined to secure a good result after a tricky weekend in Portimao, the British rider rode consistently well to bring his R1 home in a rather lonely fifth to secure 11 vital championship points, which means he remains fifth in the standings with 180 points. Lowes will start Sunday's Race 2 from the middle of the front row in second position and with the forecast saying it should be dry, he is hoping to be able to fight for his third podium of 2017.

For van der Mark, unfortunately, there was an issue in SP2 that meant he could not extract the maximum performance from his Pata Yamaha R1, which saw him qualify in tenth. When it came to the race, van der Mark had a blistering start, passing his teammate and moving up to sixth by Turn 1. He then passed Xavi Forés for fifth and became embroiled in an excellent battle with Lowes on the second lap. Passing each other a number of times, van der Mark just got on the throttle a little early attempting the cut back on his teammate at Turn 5 and lost the rear.

Luckily there was no major damage to his Pata Yamaha R1, with the 24-year-old managing to remount and re-joining the race, albeit in 19th place and five seconds behind the man ahead of him. Undeterred, the 2014 Supersport World Champion got his head down and started a sensational charge through the field that saw him overtake nine riders in the next six laps. With some clear track ahead of him, van der Mark settled into a good rhythm and focused on securing the best result possible. With four laps to go, he managed to catch and pass Chaz Davies for ninth to cap off a simply astounding comeback, in the process securing seven championship points. This result means he remains sixth in the overall standings with 173 points, seven behind his teammate and 17 ahead of Forés in seventh. Van der Mark will line up for Sunday's Race 2 on the second row in sixth, confident of his pace whether it is going to be wet or dry after his brilliant ride in Race 1 and the blistering pace he showed to finish Friday's practice sessions in second overall.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team are in action at 9:30 am local time in Magny-Cours on Sunday for Warm Up, with the 21-lap Race 2 scheduled for 1 pm. Check out the full race results.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 5th +41.210

"The race was a strange one! It was getting drier and drier as the race went on, which made it very tricky. I have always struggled here at Magny-Cours in the wet, so I am pretty happy to have finished in fifth. I had a good battle with my teammate and a few riders at the start, but then it became quite a lonely race towards the end. That can actually be harder than battling in a group in the wet, so I just focused on being as consistent as possible. I hope the sun comes out for tomorrow's race but whatever happens, I will be ready to give it everything from the front row!"

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 9th +1:09.271

"We had a bit of an issue in SP2 which meant I could not go as fast as I would have liked, so I had to start from tenth on the grid. Luckily, we found out what the problem was and I had a pretty good start during the race. I passed a few guys straight away but I was struggling on corner exit with the rear spinning. I thought it was because the tyres needed to warm up but after 3 laps it was still an issue and into the hairpin, I was a bit too aggressive and lost the rear. It was a small crash, luckily, the bike was okay but I had to comeback from pretty much last place! I had a good feeling with the bike but with the rear spinning, I could not make any speed. I had to fight back from 19th and was making progress lap after lap, catching quite a lot of people, so I am happy to have finished in ninth after a crash. We just need to find some improvements in the setup because I feel really good but could not make up any time coming out of the corners. Hopefully, tomorrow will be dry and I will get to start from the second row, plus I was fast in the dry on Friday. It will be challenging for everybody because no one has really done a long run, but I am looking forward to Race 2 whether it is wet or dry!"

Paul Denning

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal

"A wet race at Magny-Cours is always very challenging, there is so little grip, demonstrated by the fact the lap times were around 20 seconds slower than in the dry. It makes it very complicated for the riders to understand how hard to push. There were so many accidents in FP3 and qualifying earlier, our guys did well to come through the sessions and qualify in strong positions for the first race. Following a disappointing Portimao weekend, Alex needed to finish well without taking unnecessary risks and, he rode a very strong, solid race after a great battle with Michael in the first couple of laps to finish in fifth and score good positive points. The mistake Michael made at Turn 5 is a very easy one to do but we were fortunate that the R1 was relatively unscathed and that Michael was able to pick the bike up and mount such a positive charge through the field. It was a very unusual race, it is not often that the gaps are so big, but let's hope there is the chance of some dry weather for tomorrow so that Pata Yamaha and the whole WorldSBK grid can ride to the limits and put on a show!"


Milwaukee Aprilia recover good points finish from tough Superpole at Magny-Cours

Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours 30 / 09 / 2017

The inclement wet weather at Magny-Cours started with a downpour on Saturday morning which persisted until the afternoon. The Superpole 2 pole position shootout ran in full wet conditions, posing a challenge for all riders. Several riders including Rea and Melandri fell early in the session, before Milwaukee Aprilia riders Eugene and Lorenzo also fell, all at different corners of the track. The riders finished the session P9 and P11 respectively.

The rain had stopped before the race start, but the track was still wet and needed caution from the riders. Eugene and Lorenzo struggled off the line with low grip, and had to avoid debris from a crash involving other riders on Lap 2. They raced each for position in P10 and P11 respectively, before Eugene was able to find pace and begin moving forward in aggressive style.

As the track came to him Eugene passed Torres for P9 on Lap 6 which he held for 8 laps, before passing Davies for P8 on Lap 15. He soon overtook Giugliano for P7 on Lap 18, before passing Mercado at the finish line for his finishing position of P6.

Lorenzo had a more difficult race, unable to fully unlock the pace of his RSV4-RF in the slippery conditions. He was able to hold onto P11 from Lap 3, and brought home 5 valuable points and a wealth of data to use in preparation for Race 2.

Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF

Superpole 2: P9, 1'59.637

Race 1: P6, 10 points

“Superpole was a really difficult session. I just had no grip at the rear and that's what caused me to crash, and we couldn't learn much in that time.

The race start was a disaster, it was like riding on ice for the first few laps because the tyres just weren't working. When it was fully wet I had no grip at the rear and the bike was so difficult to ride. About half way into the race it started to dry out, and the second half was much stronger. I was able to find rear grip and I was able to move forwards, and I made some good passes on the way.

If it's wet tomorrow we know what to do, and the same if it's dry; we know where to go with the bike. We need to get that 'push' onto the rear tyre which should make a big difference, and I know we can do better in Race 2."

Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF

Superpole 2: P11, 2'04.679

Race 1: P11, 5 points

"I had a big crash in Superpole 2 at Turn 7, because the track was so wet and I had very little grip. I didn't feel 100% after but I wanted to race.

In the race I struggled to find a feeling and a rhythm with the bike, and It wasn't easy for me. The start was difficult and I lost some positions, and I was fighting with Eugene briefly. The bike was not very different today to yesterday in Free Practice, but today we just had problems getting the correct setup. I could not do much, and P11 was OK for points but not what we wanted.

More or less every time it is the same when we have no grip, and the bike is so difficult to handle. The wet did not help us and when it started to dry we were quicker for sure, but we still need to make sure we have a better setup for Race 2."

Mick Shanley - Team Manager

"It was a very difficult Superpole 2 session, and it certainly accentuated the issue that we have in low-grip situations where the bike struggles. Both riders crashing made it a difficult period for us to get ready for the race, but the team worked incredibly hard and it was a real team effort to get both bikes on the grid ready to race.

To salvage a reasonable result and good pace at the end is definitely a positive we have to take from today. We learnt a lot during the race which should stand us in good stead for Race 2, and we will use it to shape the direction we go in.

We were lucky that both riders were physically fit after their crashes, and it was just a difficult day for a lot of people. To come away with 6th for Eugene and 11th for Lorenzo was a good, if lucky, result and we'll do our best tomorrow."


A wet SBK Race 1 for Althea BMW at Magny-Cours

Nevers (France), Saturday 30 September 2017

On track this weekend at the Magny-Cours circuit in France, the Althea BMW Racing team concluded the first Superbike race, on a wet track, in thirteenth place with De Rosa and fourteenth with Jordi Torres.

Superpole 1 - riders faced wet conditions during today’s Superpole. Both Torres and De Rosa were both out in the rain for this first phase. De Rosa made six laps, the fastest of which was his last, completed in 2’04.718, which placed him ninth at the session’s end. Struggling to build confidence in the difficult conditions, Torres unfortunately crashed four minutes before the end of the session. He was able to continue but without improving any further on his times, thus closing in tenth place. Both Althea BMW riders therefore qualified on row seven of the grid for race one.

SBK - Race 1: with work to do, from 19th and 20th on the grid, De Rosa and Torres hoped to do well in this first race despite the wet track. Making up a few positions over the first two laps, they were lapping ‘together’ in 16th and 17th place. Unfortunately, the pair lost ground during the first half of the race, struggling to find the rhythm needed to catch those ahead of them, separated by several seconds and perhaps more confident in the tricky conditions. In the final phase though, on a gradually drying track, the two Althea BMW riders upped their pace, earning a further three places apiece to cross the line in 13th (De Rosa) and 14th (Torres) position.

Jordi Torres

“It's been a tough day in the rain, as I expected. I crashed already in FP3, hurting my back. Then in Superpole, I lost the front, crashing for a second time. So the important thing was to finish the race, considering the risky conditions and how my previous sessions had gone. I started out OK but was perhaps too cautious at the start. I made a few laps right behind Raffaele but when he started to push later in the race, I struggled to find the right confidence. Let’s hope that tomorrow is dry and we are able to complete a good second race.”

Raffaele De Rosa

“I didn’t make the best start and tried to get into a rhythm but it was tough at the start, when it was very wet, and I didn’t have the best feeling with my bike. Feeling improved lap by lap though, especially over the last ten or so as the track started to dry. I was able to make up a few places, which was positive at least, but we need to work to be faster in very wet conditions like we had early on in today’s race.”


Seventh place for Mercado in Race1 in Magny Cours

Magny Cours, September 30, 2017 - An important seventh place for Leandro Mercado in Race 1 in Magny Cours. The Argentinan rider started from the second place on the starting grid, after being very fast during a wet Superpole2. As a matter of fact, in the rain Mercado has conquered the second place in 1'57,758, placing its Aprila RSV4RF in second place, between the two Kawasaki of Rea and Sykes. After a good start in Race1, the Iodaracing team rider has managed the race, finishing in seventh place and confirming the results and the good performance shown in the previous rounds.

LEANDRO MERCADO # 36 - WSBK RIDER - 7th IN RACE 1

This morning I felt very confortable in wet conditions because I had a good feeling with my bike. In Superpole1 I made a good turn, thus entering Superpole2. In the second qualifying session there was much more water and the conditions were more difficult than in SP1. Despite the rain, I felt good and in the last lap I tried to push hard and finally I gained the second place on the grid. I expected more in the race, I could not attack as I wanted but a seventh place is not a bad position for us.


Eighth place for Davide Giugliano in Race One at Magny-Cours

French Round

Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours, France

Davide Giugliano finished today’s WorldSBK race one at Magny-Cours in eighth place, courtesy of a strong performance on board his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machine on the drying French circuit. His Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team mate Jake Gagne was forced into a late retirement after fighting for a top-12 result.

Giugliano got an OK launch off sixth place on the grid and, after a few laps needed to adjust to the drying track conditions, he settled into a nice, consistently improving rhythm which allowed him to catch and overtake his former teammate Chaz Davies on lap 14. After losing one place to Laverty five laps later, the 27-year-old Italian managed to maintain eighth position up to the chequered flag. Courtesy of today’s result, Davide will start race two tomorrow from the middle of the second row (fifth place).

Jake Gagne had an encouraging and convincing early part of the race as he made his way up from 18th place on the grid to 12th in only five laps. The young American rider then a small setback on lap 7 which cost him a couple of places and, after staying attached to the group fighting for 12th position, he ran off track on the penultimate lap after experiencing a gear-shifting issue, and retired shortly afterwards. His starting position will not change for race two.

Race two for the French Round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship will get underway tomorrow at 13:00 local time (GMT +2), after the 15-minute warm up scheduled at 9:00.

Davide Giugliano 34

8th

It has been a positive race. We had good pace for the full 21 laps and we were able to improve all the way to the chequered flag. It was my first time riding the bike for more than a few laps in wet conditions so there were some things I needed to understand first before I could start pushing harder. The team did a great job in translating my comments and the data into appropriate changes to the bike set-up. Obviously there is still room for improvement, but for a first wet race I’d say it hasn’t been a bad one at all!

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Jake Gagne 45

DNF

It was my first race in wet conditions with this bike and Pirelli tyres, so again there was a lot to learn for me. I’m happy with how I was able to improve my pace lap after lap; the bike is quite different with the wet set-up on but I was able to adjust to that and – despite a small setback in the first half which cost me a couple of places – I was able to run consistently and gather some more experience. My goal was to finish the race – we got really close to it, but unfortunately we had to retire with less than two laps to go. It’s a pity, really, but there’s another race tomorrow to make it right.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Ronald ten Kate

Team Manager

Davide rode a brilliant race. It was clear from Superpole already that he was feeling comfortable with the bike in the wet, but obviously the drying asphalt added a further challenge to the race as the laps went by. Eighth place is a good result – maybe it could have been even better but we’re definitely happy with his performance. His comments were again positive and that shows that we’re working in the right direction. Too bad for Jake’s retirement, but unfortunately the gear-shifting issue he experienced did not allow him to finish the race. He did a good race nevertheless, especially if we consider that it was his first race in wet conditions with Pirelli tyres and this version of the Fireblade. He keeps improving, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he’ll be able to do tomorrow.


WorldSSP: Tuuli secures debut pole position in France

Finnish rider on pole ahead of Morais, as Sofuoglu qualifies third and then crashes

As Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) qualified in pole position at the Pirelli French Round ahead of second placed Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) there was drama as World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) had a heavy crash late in Tissot Superpole 2 for the WorldSSP class.

Tuuli will head the grid for Sunday’s race at Magny-Cours after lapping 0.152s ahead of closest challenger Morais.

With just over a minute on the clock the session was red-flagged and concluded early as Sofuoglu crashed between turns 8 and 9 and required assistance from marshals at track side. The Turkish rider, who leads the championship, was taken away to the medical centre for checkups.

On row two at Round 11, meanwhile, are Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) in fourth to sixth places respectively.

Frenchman Jules Cluzel heads row three in seventh place on the grid for his home race, in front of his fellow CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Christoffer Bergman, with PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) slotting in behind them in ninth.

The fourth row will feature Alessandro Zaccone (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Michael Canducci (Puccetti Racing Junior Team FMI) and Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team). Watanabe and Bergman were the two riders to make it through from the earlier SP1 session.

The WorldSSP riders will commence their 19-lap race around the 4.411km Magny-Cours track at 11.30am local time on Sunday.

Pole Position - Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing)

"It was a really difficult day today with the weather, as it was wet and then dry. I was hoping it was going to stay wet and not be mixed, but my plan was to not change the tyre. It was my time today and I am looking forward to tomorrow."

WorldSSP Tissot-Superpole 2:

1. Niki Tuuli (FIN) Yamaha 1.43.833

2. Sheridan Morais (RSA) Yamaha 1.43.985 (+0.152)

3. Kenan Sofuoglu (TUR) Kawasaki 1.43.994 (+0.161)


GRT Yamaha Battle Hard in WorldSSP on Saturday at Magny-Cours

Qualifying

The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team came through a wet and tricky Saturday at Magny-Cours, France, round ten of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship. Federico Caricasulo adapted to the damp track in SP2 brilliantly to secure fourth position on the grid for Sunday's race. His teammate Lucas Mahias, who was 0.599s quicker than the rest of the field in Friday's dry practice, will start from 12th on the grid after a technical issue with his bike saw him only able to complete one lap in qualifying.

Caricasulo ended Friday's dry practice sessions in third overall and immediately got to work to try and find a good setup in the wet conditions that greeted the riders on Saturday morning in Magny-Cours. A small crash in the 15-minute FP3, while he was pushing to find the limit, meant he finished in 13th but the 21-year-old Italian was confident he had found a good feeling with his Yamaha R6. This proved to be true as when the sun came out and the track started to dry for SP2 in the afternoon, he was one of the quickest riders in the damp conditions. Improving his pace lap by lap in the session, he set a 1:44.105 on his fifth lap that was good enough for fourth position and was on an even quicker lap when the session was ended early after a nasty looking crash for championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu. Despite being denied the chance for his maiden Yamaha WorldSSP pole position, he is confident of his pace for Sunday's race after impressing in both the wet and dry over the course of the weekend so far.

Mahias arrived at his home round in Magny-Cours trailing Kenan Sofuoglu by four points in the championship standings, determined to fight back in front of the passionate French supporters. He finished Friday on top of the combined timesheets, beating the rest of the field over half a second. Saturday did not quite go to plan for the 28-year-old French rider, although he showed impressive pace in FP3 to finish in third, despite a highside that brought his session to an early end although, luckily, he escaped any serious injury. He was still feeling a bit sore for SP2 but was determined to go out and show just how quick he could be in the damp conditions. Unfortunately, he suffered a technical issue on his bike during the 15-minute session that meant he could only complete one lap before returning to the pits. Therefore, he ended the session in 12th and will start Sunday's race from the back of the fourth row but, despite this, the 2014 French Supersport Champion is confident of his ability to be able to fight for the podium in Sunday's race whatever the conditions. The big news to come from Saturday was that after the crash that brought a premature end to SP2, his title rival Kenan Sofuoglu was declared unfit with a pelvic injury and will be forced to miss the rest of the race weekend.

Kallio Racing's Niki Tuuli secured pole position and his teammate Sheridan Morais qualified in second to complete a Yamaha 1-2 on the grid, meaning there were three R6s in the top four, showcasing the pace of the 2017 machine.

The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team return to action on Sunday morning at 9 am for Warm Up, with the 19-lap race due to start at 11:30 am. Check out the SP2 results.

Federico Caricasulo

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 3rd - 1:41.105

"I am happy! I think I could have been even quicker and maybe even secured pole position, as I was very close, but then the red flag came out to end the session. It is important in the race to start on the second row to give me the best chance to fight for victory. I am happy because I have been quick in the wet and the dry, therefore whatever conditions we have for the race I feel confident I will be able to battle at the front."

Lucas Mahias

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 12th - 1:49.824

"It was a very difficult day for me. Yesterday was amazing, but today was very hard. The weather obviously made a big difference and during FP3 I crashed, it was a small crash, but I had some pain in my knee and wrist. Then in SP2, the track was completely different than it was before, it wasn't fully wet and yet it wasn't dry, which it made it really difficult. I went out on slicks and after one lap, I had a technical issue with my bike and that was it for the session. Tomorrow I start in 12th and it will be a very difficult race. I am very sorry for Kenan. It is a real shame he will not be able to ride tomorrow as we have had some great battles and it is a shame for the championship."

Filippo Conti

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager

"We had a very difficult day today, to be honest. It was not really what we expected, but racing is racing and it can be unpredictable as it was today. Looking at this morning, Lucas had a small crash in the wet in FP3 and then we had a technical issue in SP2. Starting from the fourth row is not what we want for Lucas, especially with the pace he has shown here this weekend. Therefore, it is very important to give him the best package possible for tomorrow to allow him to fight for the podium. Federico had a fantastic day. He was quick in FP3 and then had a superb SP2 in difficult conditions to secure fourth position, if it wasn't for the red flag then I think he could have got pole position. We are very happy and we will see tomorrow with the race, and we will do everything we can to get the best result possible for both riders."


Sofuoglu Injured And Out Of Contention After Superpole Crash

Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was on course for a front row start in Superpole qualifying at the tenth round of the WorldSSP championship at Magny-Cours today but injuries from a heavy highside crash mean he will miss the race on Sunday.

Sofuoglu, who currently leads the championship after taking five race wins from the past six WorldSSP starts, was looking to ensure a front row starting as he fell between turns eight and nine at the 4.411km circuit in France.

Kenan was taken for medical checks at the circuit and was declared unfit. Later checks in hospital confirmed that he has three fractures to his hip. He is now flying home to Turkey to undergo surgery.

Sofuoglu’s Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team-mate, Kyle Ryde, placed 29th in qualifying. The highest ranked Kawasaki qualifier behind the luckless Sofuoglu was Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) in a fine fifth position.

Kyle Ryde, stated: “I struggled a lot with the conditions on track in SP1 and I came in with a few minutes to go to fit a full dry tyre. Unfortunately the wrong tyre was ready in the pit garage and by the time we had put another tyre on the bike there was no time left to go for a faster lap. I am second-to-last but I should have been close to SP2, so will I have to go through the pack quickly tomorrow.”

With his team-mate Gino Rea fifth, Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) qualified sixth, for a second row start. Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) was 11th after SP2.

ESS rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki), starts Sunday’s race from 14th place, one position ahead of another improving rider, Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki).

Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 19th today and Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 27th.


Cluzel confident for race as qualifying session is red-flagged

PTR Honda·Saturday, September 30, 2017

There was more red flag drama for CIA Landlord Insurance Honda's Jules Cluzel as today's World Supersport Tissot Superpole 2 at Magny Cours was concluded early. Jules had stopped for a new rear tyre and was going for pole position when Championship leader, Kenan Sofuoglu crashed just before Jules completed his fast lap bringing the session to a premature close.

Jules heads up the 3rd row of the grid for his home round in seventh position just ahead of teammate, Christoffer Bergman. Chris claimed one of the top two spots in Superpole 1 with a superb ride which took him through to SP2 and eighth overall on the grid for tomorrow's race.

Jules said: “It was a good day, we deserve better than seventh for sure because I stopped in the pits to change tyre. I decided to have a new tyre for the last minute with the best track condition but Kenan had a crash. It looked big because we had the red flag and he was injured. It's a shame but we hope for a good recovery for him. For us today this is how it was, it could have been better if I had been able to make one lap at the end but the most important thing is to be at the front tomorrow.”

Hikari Okubo fared less well in Superpole 1 with a disappointing 26th place on the grid.

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “Jules was really fast in the wet this morning, him and Kenan were significantly faster than everybody. We made the right decision to put in another tyre to go for the pole but then Kenan had a big crash and so we start seventh. This might end up sixth as it is unlikely that Kenan will start tomorrow. Mahias also crashed in the wet this morning and there are doubts about his full fitness so things turn around and we have to take our chance and look to win. Jules is really confident for the race tomorrow.”

“Chris did a great job to get into SP2 and a great job to qualify eighth, we are really pleased for him and it bodes well for a strong result well inside the top ten.”

“It was a disappointing session for Hikari in SP1. He will look to score as many points as he can in his bid to finish in the top ten in the Championship. He needs a good start and to dig in hard and see what he can do.”


WorldSSP300: Muel secures pole position in front of home fans

French wild card on pole after rain hampers Superpole

Alan Muel (Team MOTOXRACING) will lead the pack as the lights go out on Sunday at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, following a wet FIM Supersport 300 World Championship Superpole session, ahead of Paolo Grassia (3ENNE#Racing –Chiodo Moto).

The Pirelli French Round holds a lot of importance for Marc Garcia (Halcouier Racing) and Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) , as we could see the first ever champion crowned in the class, and it was a tough session for the pair.

Superpole One welcomed wild card Muel dominating the session with a lap time of 2.21.674, putting him over a second ahead of his competitors, as Manuel Bastianelli (3750 Made in CIV) joined the Frenchman going through into Superpole Two. Portuguese race winner Ana Carrasco (ETG Racing) had a tough wet qualifying session, and she will start Sunday’s race from 31st on the grid of 37 riders.

12 riders took the wet 4.4km circuit for the fight for pole position and all riders headed out for some apprehensive opening laps. Daniel Valle (Halcourier Racing) crashed at turn 12 in the closing seven minutes as himself and his team are fighting for the front row, whilst Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) stormed to the front of the timing screens with five minutes left on the clock. The Spaniard continued to improve his pace throughout the session, and was over one second in the lead in the closing minutes.

Championship contenders Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing) and Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) had a tough qualifying session as they both finished in the bottom three, as Muel, Grassia and Perez head the front row following a stunning end to the session.

Yamaha riders Robert Schotman (GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team) and Enzo De La Vega (GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team) head the second row, with Borja Sanchez (Halcourier Racnig) in sixth despite a crash.

Ensure you keep up with all the sensational WorldSSP300 racing action on Sunday at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, with the WorldSBK VideoPass.

Pole Position - Alan Muel - Team MOTOXRACING

"I am so happy to take pole position at my home track. The Superpole was really good, and I am really hoping for a wet race tomorrow because we have good pace in the wet. I would like to say thank you to my team for the set-up and the bike they have provided."

WorldSSP300 Tissot-Superpole 2:

1. Alan Muel (FRA) Yamaha 2.16.866

2. Paolo Grassia (ITA) Honda 2.17.161 (+0.295)

3. Mika Perez (ESP) Honda 2.17.161 (+0.977)


Complicated STK1000 qualifying for Althea BMW in France

Nevers (France), Saturday 30 September 2017

The Magny-Cours track in France is hosting round eight of the Superstock 1000 championship this weekend. In today’s qualifying session, Althea BMW rider Marco Faccani closed in thirteenth position, while Julian Puffe (Althea MF84) qualified in twenty-first place for tomorrow’s race.

On track today for the final practice, followed by qualifying, none of the Stock1000 riders were able to improve on yesterday's (dry) times, given the very wet track conditions. Faccani and Puffe therefore retained the positions they’d achieved yesterday, placing eighth (1'40.769) and twelfth (1'41.719) respectively.

In qualifying, which took place today on an almost dry track after rain earlier in the day, Faccani unfortunately fell victim to a crash early on. This caused him to miss half of the session and he then struggled to set fast lap times once back on track. The Italian therefore qualified in thirteenth place (1’41.757) for tomorrow’s race. Puffe was working well at the start of the session, improving on performance and positioning fourth when a crash for another rider saw the session paused with the red flag. The German had more difficulty in the later stages, eventually closing in twenty-first position with a time of 1’43.309.

Julian Puffe

“What can I say? I was doing well at first, fourth when the red flag was waved. But I’d noticed that my bike was making a strange noise, which then continued during the second outing when the session resumed. Then, when I came in to change the tyre, we unfortunately had a technical problem and there was nothing more we could do. A real pity.”

Marco Faccani

"A very difficult qualifying. I crashed almost immediately on a damp patch and that then conditioned the rest of the session really. Thanks to the red flag, we had time to sort the bike and get back out on track. Unfortunately though, a mistake on my part saw me crash again. I’m still confident ahead of tomorrow as the bike seems quite good. I just need to understand where the limit is. We’ll try to complete a good warm-up to prepare as well as we can for the race”


Jonathan Rea takes record breaking third consecutive WorldSBK title

When someone asks you when Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) made history by winning three back to back WorldSBK titles, you will remember 30th September 2017, as the Northern Irishman has been crowned MOTUL FIM Superbike World Champion this weekend in France. A match made in heaven with his Ninja ZX-10RR, Rea took the crown in race one with a stunning display of pure race craft. The 31 year old has made this seasons dominance seem effortless, and as he lifts the third consecutive title in a row he has cemented his name in the history books along the way.

Beginning his racing career in motocross, Rea moved over to the tarmac as he began to compete in the British domestic series. Making the step up onto the world stage in 2008 in WorldSSP, he quickly found his feet and moved into the World Superbike class with Honda – taking 15 victories overall. Swapping to a green machine in 2015, Rea quickly adapted to his Kawasaki Racing Team Ninja, and he secured his debut world title that same season.

It was from here the Northern Irish born rider became unstoppable as he took the 2016 title in style at the final round in Qatar, finishing a narrow 51 points ahead of team-mate Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team). Becoming the first champion of this millennium to secure back to back titles, he then went into 2017 looking to make history.

A strong winter of pre-season testing stood the 31 year old in good sted ahead of his title defence, and he began the season in true Rea style with pole position and a double victory around the Australian circuit of Phillip Island. Round Two in Buriram saw the dominance continue with another double victory and pole position, heading to Europe with a 30 point lead in the championship standings.

With already such a strong lead in the standings, the rider from Ballymena didn’t show any signs of slowing down. Rea was able to stop British rival Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) around MotorLand Aragon to take the victory in race one, before continuing his stunning run of victories at the TT Circuit Assen for Round Four, making it 11 wins in The Netherlands.

Rea faced some tough competition in the mid-part of the season, with Davies dominant in front of the Ducatisti around Imola and Sykes heading to his preferred circuit of Donington Park, but the champion continued with his consistency throughout the Rounds, only finishing off the podium once in Race One around Donington Park following a tyre issue.

Heading into the summer break with a 59 point lead following victories at Misano and Laguna Seca, talk of Rea securing the title this season had already began, of which he brushed off. Returning on track in August to the Lausitzring circuit, Rea again struggled to hold off Davies’ domination, but two podium finishes didn’t leave the reigning champion worried. Producing a masterclass of a double victory in Portugal seemed to seal the deal for Rea, whilst his team-mate and main title rival Sykes was forced to watch from the sidelines. Heading to Magny-Cours, Rea welcomed a fast pace from Friday and was able to secure pole position as the rain fell on Saturday morning. The title fight was never in doubt, as the Northern Irishman put in a stunning performance to dominate the 21 lap race in wet conditions, to take the title and his 12th victory of the season.

After securing this historic title, Rea is quickly becoming known as one of WorldSBK’s greats, with compatriot Cal Fogarty’s records in his sights. Ever the fan favourite and a dedicated family man, the three time champion is making his mark on the series in a big way and the question will continue to be asked; how many more can he win?

Congratulate the first ever triple back-to-back world champion using #R3PEAT or #JR3PEAT on social media.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team):

"To be honest I can't sum up my emotions, I feel quite numb. I just feel super proud of my team and Kawasaki. It has been such a team effort, even though I'm the guy who rode it over the line, there have been so many people involved to make it possible.

Every season is different and special in it's own individual way. 2015 was a seamless year, I joined a high level team with a well developed bike. I jumped on a bike that was ready to win and we won. 2016 was more special because we had a completely new ZX.10R, and I'm really proud of my team for the constant development. We had a lot of success last season and although we didn't score as many points, we were able to understand the bike and it was a lot more difficult, so it was a lot harder.

This season we showed the strength of team, the manufacturer the strength of Pere, and we went through some hard winter tests and we worked through the problems, and were able to go out an win at Phillip Island. I have to say thank you to Mr Matusda and everyone back in Japan as they work so hard to allow me to live my dream. I cross the line but there are too many names on the list who are involved to say thank you.

Straight away I am thinking about tomorrow and the end of the season. 2018 as a whole looks uncertain and we need to understand how the bike will work with some new regulations. Winter testing will be so important, and when we turn our attentions to 2018, I am 100% confident in my team and Kawasaki that we will always give our 100%."


Source: 
Round Number: 
11
2017

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